Woman charged for posing as victim's wife to steal his belonging - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Woman charged for posing as victim's wife to steal his belongings


MADISON (WKOW) -- A 56-year-old woman was charged with theft and burglary Wednesday after an unusual incident at an upscale Madison hotel over the weekend.

Police say Michelle Cerro talked her way into a Concourse Hotel room claming to be the wife of a man she'd just met.

"The things that this particular person did were definitely outside of the norm, in terms of what we see on a regular basis," Madison Police Dept. Spokesman Howard Payne says.

A criminal complaint states Cerro met a 31-year-old man visiting from Sweden at downtown bars briefly over the weekend. When the man went back to his hotel room to go to bed, authorities believe Cerro followed with a ploy to rob his room.

"The female actually came to the hotel, purported or masqueraded as being the wife or significant other of the victim, and that is how she seems to have gained access," Payne says.

Police say a fake note and phone call eventually worked. "Cerro was walked up to the room by security," the complaint says. Authorities believe she then stole his electronics, passports and other personal items while he slept. The victim told police he had been drinking and had jet lag.

The hotel's general manager Steve Zanoni tells 27 News their security policy is solid and if it had been followed, this never would have happened. He says this was one employees mistake and all staff have been refreshed on security policies since the incident.

The complaint says employees realized something wasn't right early Sunday morning when Cerro kept asking how to get "cash off a card." Police located and arrested her on Tuesday.

Cerro has been charged with burglary and misdemeanor theft. She was released on signature bond Wednesday.

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